ReDeTec, the Toronto-based startup, has launched its new ProtoCycler machine. This machine will enable makers to reuse and make their own 3D printed filament. This will make the process of desktop 3D printing more environment-friendly and sustainable. The machine was launched in an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014 (which raised 146% of its $50K goal). The ProtoCycler is now ready to be shipped.
If you have a 3D printer installed in office, the running cost involves the cost of filament material. The cost of the material varies and if the machine is in regular use, new spools have to be bought frequently. Additionally, there is a lot of wastage of the plastic in trials and prototype printing.
The Protocycler is the only desktop recycling system in the world that includes a built-in grinder, diameter feedback, and automatic spooling. ReDeTec founder Dennon Oosterman said that the ProtoCycler comes with a third-party safety certified extrusion system. ReDeTec’s patent-pending plastic extrusion process is called MixFlow and integrates a “proper extrusion grade screw,” which allows for the recycled plastic pellets to be melted uniformly.
Oosterman said that their team decided to create a recycled device when they used the 3D printer frequently for their projects at the British University of Columbia. With large amounts of wasted material in the process of 3D printing, the team decided it would be a nice project to create a device which could recycle the used plastic. The process, however, was more tricky than expected.
UL Certified ProtoCycler is designed to produce ABS and PLA filament, though the ReDeTec team suggested that many other types of plastic materials (printable at 260 degrees or lower) will soon also be available. ReDeTec recently bagged the third prize at the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) 2017, the largest startup competition in the world, judged by Sir Richard Branson.